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Yes, let’s.

Despite what the greasy, egotistical tryhards of Deviantart would tell you. Character design has rules to it. These rules are well established, nearly-universally agreed upon by actual professionals in the field, and are based on simple truths in design.

Let’s use a visual aid. I’m gonna put out some examples of good character design and then I’m going to show you some examples of bad character design. Then I’m going to compare them to explain why the good design works and the bad design is a thing of shame.

Let’s begin.

THE GOOD

FIGURE 1. The Mega Man 2 Robot Masters

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These guys are a classic example of good character design. Take a good look at them. Notice the colors used.They show an excellent understanding of color theory. Quick Man, Heat Man and Metal Man’s designs make use of red and yellow. These are warm colors, which works for Heat Man, The colors are complimentary while still being distinct. the use of yellow in key places breaks up the red used in the majority of Quick Man’s design while still meshing nicely with it, creating a dynamic design that effectively conveys his status as the speed demon of the 8.

 Metal Man uses colors similar to Quick Man’s, but they are used differently. Red and yellow are distributed in a more even way, as opposed to Quick man’s theme of predominately red with yellow accents. The red used on Crash Man is more of an orange-ish hue that compliments the saffron yellow parts and contrasts the white of his legs and waist, as well as the green gem on his chest. 

Air Man and Flash Man’s designs use a mix of blue and yellow, which provide a nice contrast to their designs. Bubble Man uses colors that flow together like green and yellow and blue, with a red chest gem to provide a dash of warmth and contrast. Wood Man is done up in earth tones which suits his name and design.

In addition to the use of color, notice that most of their designs take cues from objects found in life. Heat Man has a flip-up lid like a zippo lighter and the yellow stripe on his head is segmented to look like the lighter’s striker wheel. Wood Man is based off a cypress tree with a thick trunk and the top of his head is made to look like a cut-down tree’s stump. Air Man has a fan built into his chest and due to how close it is to his eyes, it looks like a big open mouth, which is a very clever touch that gives him a lot of character. Bubble Man has a diving mask, air tank on his back, and flippers to make him look like a Scuba diver, which fits with the overall aquatic theme.

Flash Man has sections on his arms and a portion on the top of his head that are designed to look like a camera’s flash bulb. Quick Man has an angular V-shaped crest on his helmet and diamond shaped plates on his knees and these angular, symmetrical elements give a dynamic, flowing feel to his design. Crash Man has a pointy visor that reminds one of a bomb squad technicians helmet and the drills on his arms further accentuate the sharp, angular, menace of his design. Crash Man looks like a dangerous combat machine and that is what he his. The designs are colorful, creative, and memorable.

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Figure 2. Crocodile, One Piece

One Piece is a manga with some truly great and imaginitive characters and Crocodile is a great example of how to design an antagonist. Immediately upon looking at him, you know that he’s based on a mafiosa, which perfectly fits his role in the story and his personality. His design carries a sense of menace, but also a regal aloofness. Note the fur coat draped over his shoulders like a cape and the designer suit. This fits his character as a powerful figure in the criminal underworld. The colors used are mostly secondary colors, with the coat’s dark green contrasting nicely with the orange vest and blue tie. The scar running across his face is a nice touch, effectively conveying that he is a powerful and experienced combatant. Another thing, look at how he is proportioned. One Piece’s style is more cartoony and exaggerated than most mangas and Crocodile here is an example of stylized anatomy done right. He has broad shoulders, a triangular torso, a broad neck and face with distinctly Italian/Mediterranian features. He’s a caricature of a crime boss which fits him and his role in the series very nicely. Also, his big golden hook hand is a cool touch when you remember that most mafia members aren’t subtle in the least when it comes to displaying their wealth. You know the boss of a pirate mafia would wear something that awesomely gaudy.

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Figure 3: The Mario Brothers.

Mario and Luigi are the ur-examble of great character design in gaming. Mario was developed in the early days of arcade gaming so the crude graphical technology of the time forced Nintendo’s designers to make every aspect of his appearance a carefully thought out decision. They gave him overalls so his arms could be made clearly visible on his 8x8 pixel sprite. His big nose and mustache were added to give him a face, and the cap was added as a final touche to cement his role as a everyday workman thrust into the role of hero. From then on, his design had remained more-or-less constant over the years with just his proportions and body shape changing over time. His earlier incarnations were stocky and almost dwarven in proportions, while his current design prefers soft, rounded shapes to make him look friendly and nonthreatening, which is a must for any character intended to be a mascot.

Luigi is also an interesting case of good design and art evolution. He was originally just a palette swap of Mario as was typically in the early days of gaming. As time went on and hardware improved, Luigi’s design was changed to differentiate him from Mario. Compared to his brother, Luigi is taller, his limbs are lankier and thinner, his body and head are comprised of elongated ovals and even his overalls are a deeper, more indigo color than the bright blue of Mario’s overalls. This design fits with how Luigi is portrayed in recent games. He lacks Mario’s confidence and his movements are clumsier to offset his higher jumps. He is a sidekick and a comic relief while still being good at what he does. As simple as their designs are (color coded shirt, hat, overalls, brown work shoes) Mario and Luigi are instantly recognizable ,very memorable, and their design meshes perfectly with their role in the games and that is the highest measure of success in character. This is an important lesson for all you would-be artists and designers out there. When it comes to details on your character design, go with quality over quantity. This is why Mario and Luigi are so beloved and why Nomura’s recent Final Fantasy designs are very rarely mentioned outside of jokes at Square-Enix’s expense.

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Figure 4: Ed, Edd, and Eddy

If you were a child in the US and Canada in the 90’s and early 2000’s, you remember these guys. Ed,Edd,n’Eddy in general has some of the best art direction in televised animation. The show employed an expressive, caricaturish style with vibrant colors. The three Eds are an example of this design theory. Each Ed boy is designed in a way that suggests their personalty. Ed is given wide-spaced eyes a unibrow to give his face a vacant appearance, his posture is slouched and his proportions are very lanky and loose. His green jacket goes well with the red and white horizontal stripes of his shirt and these details help the viewer to notice his tall, tube-like design. You take one look at Ed and you know he’s the dumb muscle of the trio.

Edd has a round head on a very thin body, his facial features are comprised mostly of round shapes to give him a soft look. He is the physically frail brains of the group, and he has a delicate-looking design to match.

Eddy is the shortest of the three and his mouth is almost always drawn large and pronounced. He has only three very long strands of hair on the top of his head which, along with his short stature and stocky torso, gives him sort of a cockroach or insect-like appearance,which fits him. Other details such as his wallet chain, and the rings of pale skin around his eyes are nice little touches which further gives an already vibrant design more personality. His shirt is bright yellow with a red stripe and purple accents, which fits his loud, prideful character.

His design has a subtle sleaziness to it, which fits his role as the inept hustler and schemer of the gang.

Figure 5: Batman

Batman is one of the most famous and beloved superheroes ever. His design is notable for being in sharp contrast to the usual superhero outfit. While most supers dress in bright, flashy colors, Bats suits up in black, gray, dark blue, and other muted colors that fits his stealthy approach to crimefighting as well as the overall bat motif. His costume is elegantly simple, cowl with pointy ears, bat symbol, briefs over gray tights, gloves and boots and a cape. It’s a simple, effective design that has remained largely the same over the years. The muted colors of his design also mesh with his morose, brooding personality. He was a dark and moody superhero long before dark and moody superheros became fashionable. His mask is designed to emphasize his big lantern jaw, and his overally physique is comprised of hard shapes. He’s a rough, no-nonsense guy and his design displays that.

In part two, I will be going over some examples of bad character design.

Photo Set

deltaink:

runescratch:

I’ve been asked a lot about how I draw hoods, mostly Talon’s hood, so I hope this helps a little? Just a pretty basic thing but hey there ya go

Hoods are pretty cool, they usually have a lot of variety in how they can look (and sometimes people even wear two hoods at once) so just get creative with it and have fun

MIGHTY NEED

(via hamsterfox)

Source: runescratch
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Controversial opinion time:

If you have a deviantart, furaffinity, or any other art site account and you block comments on your submissions, you are a coward.

If you intentionally build or allow an environment on your webcomic’s forum that is openly hostile to criticism and dismisses it as trolling, you are a coward.

If you send your fans out to attack someone for criticising you, you are a coward.

This is as plain a truth as you can get. Criticism is just a statement, it cannot possibly do any real harm to you as a person and it has the chance of helping you grow and develop not as an artist, but as a person in general.

And if you are so scared of this that you try to shield yourself from it through either blocking people or sending your ass-grabbing yes-men after the heretic who offended you, you are a coward. There is no exception.

This is how the world works: You make something and you put it on the internet. This also means that you are making your work open to discussion and commentary on it. This means that you will eventually be criticized on your shortcomings. If you shut out the criticism, then you can kiss any chance of getting better or getting good at all goodbye because you have made open, honest dialogue between artist and viewer impossible.

Jay Naylor: you are a coward and a manchild because every time anything about you is criticized, you throw a tantrum, block the person, and then crawl back into your little hugbox. If it weren’t for the fact that furries will literally masturbate to anything, you’d be on the street selling blowjobs for gas money.

Soulkat, IDFox, Chalo: You are cowards for cultivating a toxic, enabling atmosphere on your forums where any statement even remotely negative about your precious furry webcomic is shouted down as trolling. You never defend your work yourself, you let your little social lampreys do it for you. You are not even successful by regular standards, you have to beg your fanboys for money to keep your site up, You are artistic parasites. 

AkuOreo: You are a coward because you’re not even big enough to respond to any criticism the first time. You block every statement that isn’t asskissing and then you go back to charging 80$ for elementary school level artwork.

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Tagged nsfw just in case.

Two questions with this one:

1. What’s up with Spike’s hands?

2. Why is the shading on Spike;s body done in a way that makes him look like he’s covered in vaseline?

3. The way his neck connects to his head is kinda weirding me out

4. I guess this is more than two questions.

Source: fucknodeviantart
Photo Set

ketchupbeard:

helpyoudraw:

Drawing rats by Deskleaves

Drawing Rats: some pointers by Deskleaves

I’ll definitely be taking advantage of this, seeing as my brother has 2 rats.

Excellent resource for anthro artists, this.

Source: helpyoudraw
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This man is in his 30’s and this is how he acts in response to criticism.

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"I call it ignorance because this one makes it painfully obvious that they didn’t even read the comic. Hell, they admit to just skimming through it. A "reviewer" who just skims through something on a quest to bitch about everything and anything is not credible in the least."

~Anonymous furry responding to the bad webcomic wiki’s review

"Hey, If you don’t like it. Don’t read it!" *Pony macro*

~ IDfox, Co-writer;posted on tgfb.net

"I can’t help but wonder if the person who wrote that review possessed enough intelligence to consider the thought that perhaps some of the character’s (they only mention 4 or 5 I think) might not have likeable personalities for a reason, like for, say, development?"

~ Anonymous furry wondering why the Badwebcomics wiki would take issue with unlikable and flat characters, like ever single Las Lindas character, Mora in particular being egregiously awful.

"I’ve never banned anyone for legitimate criticism (though admittedly I reserve the right to determine what that is) but I will ban trolls and do so gladly."

~IDFox, after banning people for criticizing the shitty writing of Learning Curves. Also, the idea  that a furry writing a furry fanservice comic thinks he knows more about legit criticism than the actual people giving the criticism is fucking precious. That’s like saying L Ron Hubbard reserves the right to determine what is legitimate criticism of Scientology

 

Fan Dumb: A number of fans, and sometimes even the creative team themselves, are far too quick to label any criticism as “trolling”.

This got so bad, the creators shut down the comics front page commenting system.

~ TV Tropes on how the Las Lindas crowd handles criticism. When even TV Tropes thinks you’re too thin-skinned, it’s time to seriously re-examine your life choices

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Woo boy, I thought this argument had died down back in 2010.
Turns out I was wrong.
There are many justifications hacks use to avoid criticism, especially on the internet. From calling on the fanboys/fangirls to white knight them like the little princesses they are, to just trying to derail the conversation (I don’t see /you/ doing better) to reducing it to name calling.
I am not here to repeat the same stuff people have said in the past. If you get it you get it, if you just want to just post your art on DeviantArt and want to have a good time, I don’t object to that and this post isn’t targeted at you. Have fun if you want to have fun.
And look, I am not here to direct insults at the average person who does this for himself and his friends, or who just wants to have a webcomic in his corner of the internet to do for fun. I am not in the business of calling out young artists just for the sake of making them have a reaction and calling them shit twenty-four times with a note in the end to get better at drawing ain’t gona make things better for both sides.
No, what I hate is when hacks use this argument (you know who I am talking about).
Because goddammit,”THIS IS MY STYLE” creates such a strong response from both sides. I guess its because it has the word “art" in it, and its a point one could use deductive reasoning and Sequential Logic (fat chance) to argue about art and philosophy and whatever tingles you at the moment.
Again, I don’t want to repeat whatever everybody has said (even if I am going to deconstruct this argument), its just that this argument, usually the first line of defense in a hack’s arsenal, always gets me on some level.
“Art style”
Do you even know what that phrase means.
Allow to get serious. What is an “art style”? Breaking it down, the old definition of art was considered the skill in something, (i.e, the art of carpentry, the art of engineering, etc), while style means the way and manner in which something is done aka, the technique. Putting those together, it means the way in which the manner or way in which your skills are applied.
As you may note, that still means that style relies on some way to skills, which also means that it doesn’t matter if you draw the dog with perspective that would make M.C. Escher puke, it still comes down to raw skill. 
And before somebody tries to argue the point, there’s a reason why I go with the old definition of art. This whole argument comes down to semantics, and call me pedantic but I never like this current definition of art as something that is “enjoyable” or “nice”, as I also consider it to be the rotten root of this argument. The thinking goes that because its an “art” style, and because it has the word art in it (and because of this idea art is ”subjective/objective”) that means its rendered immune from traditional criticism.
Just like the contrarian decadent insert-pretentious-term-here “modern" art critics can’t understand that just because something is art does not exempt it from being shit art, the same way the internet hacks can’t understand that just because something has and art "style" does not mean its exempt from being a bad art style.
To simplify and to avoid sticking my head up my ass, there are bad art styles and there are good art styles, and lets be honest here, in the world of webcomics (and the internet in general) the former is more prevalent than the latter.
Art is supposed to be a mirror in which reflects the world. The person who draws the human figure and chooses to purposely extravagate it knows what he is doing compared to the person who does no. Art has its roots in the observation of reality, because humans live in reality and so everything that we produce corresponds to that reality. 
This is not meant to diss modern art movements (well, at least not all of them), or to attack kids that are just getting into this, its meant to make one thing clear:
When certain artists *cough*HopkingsJollyjackYouknowtherest*cough* draw an anthropomorphic animal (a furry if you will), they are basing it in the reality of the human anatomical figure. We may not know how a certain animal/pokemon/alien/whatever-they-were-fapping-to-at-the-time looks, but we sure as hell know how a goddamn human looks, so we know when the human elements are jarringly wrong, or when the flesh of the furry looks like exploding tumor volcanoes.
When certain artists *cough*GallagherChrisHartMostofDeviantArt*cough* (boy, I’ve been coughing a lot) draw an actual human being, the same obviously applies. Just because they draw them like an anime with eyes so far apart you would assume they were eagles or something, that does not mean it makes it any less jarring. 
No amount of style will hide the fact that the skill or the technique are wrong.
And this doesn’t just apply to human anatomy. Unless you are a comic book artist from the 90s, drawing a webcomic or illustrating doesn’t begin and end with drawing human(oids). There are backgrounds, objects, skies, landscapes, mountain sides and a million other things that you can benefit from by observing.
But of course, the catch is that you have to observe those things, and most of the time just look at photos from the internet will not give you the full experience. 
Sometimes, you just need to go outside and observe.
I ain’t talking about just going to a con or something (through that helps if you know what you are doing), I am talking about going outside, researching, and meeting people, go to trips where you immerse yourself in the environment, learn how it feels and how to draw a forest, an oil rig, a populated city center, talk to other people, understand their experiences, their stories, and try to put that emotion into paper.
More importantly, learn to draw all of that, and learn to draw that well.
Art and style isn’t just about pleasing yourself. The internet is a public forum and that negates that the people who see it will praise it and critique it. I do not want to say that you are a bad artist, you can become a great painter or sculptor, whenever you want as long as you love doing it. What  I am am trying to say that the thinking of “its my style” in the long run will hinder and rot you. 
Now get drawing tigers.

Woo boy, I thought this argument had died down back in 2010.

Turns out I was wrong.

There are many justifications hacks use to avoid criticism, especially on the internet. From calling on the fanboys/fangirls to white knight them like the little princesses they are, to just trying to derail the conversation (I don’t see /you/ doing better) to reducing it to name calling.

I am not here to repeat the same stuff people have said in the past. If you get it you get it, if you just want to just post your art on DeviantArt and want to have a good time, I don’t object to that and this post isn’t targeted at you. Have fun if you want to have fun.

And look, I am not here to direct insults at the average person who does this for himself and his friends, or who just wants to have a webcomic in his corner of the internet to do for fun. I am not in the business of calling out young artists just for the sake of making them have a reaction and calling them shit twenty-four times with a note in the end to get better at drawing ain’t gona make things better for both sides.

No, what I hate is when hacks use this argument (you know who I am talking about).

Because goddammit,”THIS IS MY STYLE” creates such a strong response from both sides. I guess its because it has the word “art" in it, and its a point one could use deductive reasoning and Sequential Logic (fat chance) to argue about art and philosophy and whatever tingles you at the moment.

Again, I don’t want to repeat whatever everybody has said (even if I am going to deconstruct this argument), its just that this argument, usually the first line of defense in a hack’s arsenal, always gets me on some level.

Art style

Do you even know what that phrase means.

Allow to get serious. What is an “art style”? Breaking it down, the old definition of art was considered the skill in something, (i.e, the art of carpentry, the art of engineering, etc), while style means the way and manner in which something is done aka, the technique. Putting those together, it means the way in which the manner or way in which your skills are applied.

As you may note, that still means that style relies on some way to skills, which also means that it doesn’t matter if you draw the dog with perspective that would make M.C. Escher puke, it still comes down to raw skill. 

And before somebody tries to argue the point, there’s a reason why I go with the old definition of art. This whole argument comes down to semantics, and call me pedantic but I never like this current definition of art as something that is “enjoyable” or “nice”, as I also consider it to be the rotten root of this argument. The thinking goes that because its an “art” style, and because it has the word art in it (and because of this idea art is ”subjective/objective”) that means its rendered immune from traditional criticism.

Just like the contrarian decadent insert-pretentious-term-here “modern" art critics can’t understand that just because something is art does not exempt it from being shit art, the same way the internet hacks can’t understand that just because something has and art "style" does not mean its exempt from being a bad art style.

To simplify and to avoid sticking my head up my ass, there are bad art styles and there are good art styles, and lets be honest here, in the world of webcomics (and the internet in general) the former is more prevalent than the latter.

Art is supposed to be a mirror in which reflects the world. The person who draws the human figure and chooses to purposely extravagate it knows what he is doing compared to the person who does no. Art has its roots in the observation of reality, because humans live in reality and so everything that we produce corresponds to that reality. 

This is not meant to diss modern art movements (well, at least not all of them), or to attack kids that are just getting into this, its meant to make one thing clear:

When certain artists *cough*HopkingsJollyjackYouknowtherest*cough* draw an anthropomorphic animal (a furry if you will), they are basing it in the reality of the human anatomical figure. We may not know how a certain animal/pokemon/alien/whatever-they-were-fapping-to-at-the-time looks, but we sure as hell know how a goddamn human looks, so we know when the human elements are jarringly wrong, or when the flesh of the furry looks like exploding tumor volcanoes.

When certain artists *cough*GallagherChrisHartMostofDeviantArt*cough* (boy, I’ve been coughing a lot) draw an actual human being, the same obviously applies. Just because they draw them like an anime with eyes so far apart you would assume they were eagles or something, that does not mean it makes it any less jarring. 

No amount of style will hide the fact that the skill or the technique are wrong.

And this doesn’t just apply to human anatomy. Unless you are a comic book artist from the 90s, drawing a webcomic or illustrating doesn’t begin and end with drawing human(oids). There are backgrounds, objects, skies, landscapes, mountain sides and a million other things that you can benefit from by observing.

But of course, the catch is that you have to observe those things, and most of the time just look at photos from the internet will not give you the full experience. 

Sometimes, you just need to go outside and observe.

I ain’t talking about just going to a con or something (through that helps if you know what you are doing), I am talking about going outside, researching, and meeting people, go to trips where you immerse yourself in the environment, learn how it feels and how to draw a forest, an oil rig, a populated city center, talk to other people, understand their experiences, their stories, and try to put that emotion into paper.

More importantly, learn to draw all of that, and learn to draw that well.

Art and style isn’t just about pleasing yourself. The internet is a public forum and that negates that the people who see it will praise it and critique it. I do not want to say that you are a bad artist, you can become a great painter or sculptor, whenever you want as long as you love doing it. What  I am am trying to say that the thinking of “its my style” in the long run will hinder and rot you. 

Now get drawing tigers.

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anonymous asked:

I’m a bit surprised that in your Las Lindas analysis, you didn’t mention the abyssmal relationships being passed off as healthy and ideal. Like the one they’re trying to force between Rachael and Miles lately, trying to portray her hatred of him and his complete lack of ability to meet her relationship standards as reasons why they should end up together or some shit. Or how Mora constantly insults and belittles Minos and he keeps coming back for more, or Taffy and Randal’s ridiculous Disney BS.

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Somebody said that Megatokyo’s art has improved.

Nope.

Look at how everyone has the same face. Look at how the ninja guy has a Dominic Deegan-esque snoutface in one panel. Look at the fact that it’s still a goddamn pencil sketch and this man is supposed to be a professional.

And then someone said that this shit rivals actual anime/manga art.

To which I respond:

LOL